RESEARCH PARK TRIANGLE, N.C., Aug. 16 (UPI) -- Scientists from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have linked an epidemic of cat thyroid disease with common household flame retardants.
The chemicals known as polybrominated diphenyl ethers, or PBDEs, mimic thyroid hormones. They are commonly found on furniture cushions, electronics, mattresses and carpet padding.
Janice Dye and Marta Venier of the EPA's National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory in North Carolina, wrote in their study published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology they tested 23 cats, including 11 with hyperthyroidism. They found the cats with hyperthyroidism had substantially higher levels of a PBDE compound, the Los Angeles Times reported.
"We know there is an association between indoor living for cats and hyperthyroidism," said Linda Birnbaum, a senior author of the study and the EPA's director of experimental toxicology.
The report said the study raises human concerns as well, as toddlers who crawl on floors and put objects in their mouths can also be highly exposed to the chemical-tainted dust, which is found in most U.S. homes.